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How Recruiting and Employer Branding Will Change During and After a Pandemic

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As we go through our new normal and watch how companies react to the changing economy, we find ourselves in a situation where people analytics is vital to how companies recruit and treat their employees because their actions will redefine their employer branding after this pandemic.

This theme was prominent during our April 22 open forum on how to use people analytics to tailor recruitment during a pandemic. During the discussion, leading experts and practitioners in the data and analytics field share their insights on recruitment. You can view the recording here. 

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Here’s a recap of the main topics from the webinar. 

It’s important to leverage data to take care of your employees

As we learned in previous forums, it’s vital to take care of your employees’ well-being and mental health.

Jeremy Shapiro, Executive Director of Workforce Analytics at Merck, is using data to understand what’s happening across the globe to accelerate decision-making. Employees in China might be experiencing a slight resurgence, while employees in other countries may be entering the unknown. 

Despite the difference, there’s a level of fatigue that is coming to all employees. To measure these dimensions, Merck is using light touches each week to check in on how employees are doing and they’re encouraging their leaders to do it daily. 

Anton Smessaert, Head of Data Science at Visier, and his team used this new data to examine the impact of this crisis on employee turnover and hiring and uncovered surprising results that show the difference between employer and employee reactions to the pandemic. 

To read the May 2020 report, click here: COVID-19 Employee Trends Insights Brief

We never heard the term “furlough” before and it’s important to define it 

When asked about how the nature of recruiting has changed, William Tincup, President at, said three things came to mind for him during the early stages of the pandemic: 

  • Chaos. Recruiters didn’t know what was going to happen to their department, their jobs, even their company. Would there be furloughs or layoffs? 
  • Freeze. Companies started to implement a hiring freeze and recruiters were unsure whether they could speak about it publicly or not. 
  • Worry. Recruiters were worried about laying off their sourcing team and worried that they were next on the layoff list. 

Gerry Crispin, Principal & Co-founder of CareerXroads, explained that we never heard the term “furlough” during other recessions. The term has deep emotional implications and this affects the role of the recruiter moving forward. 

For example, when the head of talent acquisition lays off 100,000 workers and calls it a furlough—she’s invested in making sure that her employees are treated well during this time. When it’s time to come back, she wants them to come back voluntarily. She wants a recruiting partner that will say “I’ll walk them back” when the time comes. 

William also noticed that there wasn’t a formal definition of the term “furlough.” Each company has been self-defining the term. Some are furloughing with benefits, some are not. Some are promised a job when they come back, some are not. There isn’t a working definition of what it means. 

He said that we will have a definition coming back and fundamentally, there may be a significant problem for companies that label their layoffs as furloughs. 

People will remember how companies reacted in a crisis

Steve Lucas, CEO at iCIMS, is a big believer in transparency and how employees are treated. It matters what benefits and care companies are providing to their displaced workers. He mentioned that certain companies are laying off thousands of workers, but they’ve provided no transparency into whether displaced workers are receiving benefits or not. 

To him, it’s critical to provide extended benefits because they’re human and we need to ask ourselves “How can we best care for this displaced employee and what’s the best way we can protect them?”

Kyle Lagunas, Director of Strategy at Beamery, explained how this care should be integrated into employer brands and how organizations treat hiring candidates moving forward. He noticed that this pandemic is “putting all of the brand work we’ve done to the test” and he worries that all the work they’ve done to improve the candidate experience will revert to the post-recession days of cattle herding.

Things will be different going forward

Elaine Orler, Founder & CEO of Talent Function, thinks that in-person interviews at the office may never happen again, as video interviewing has been around for a while and has become an essential tool today.

But she also believes that the use of video interviewing comes with great responsibility because it leaves it wide open for people to ask the wrong questions, create the wrong impression, or even bring their own unconscious bias into the conversation. 

To mitigate this, Elaine believes that we have the opportunity to structure interviews to be professional and guided by principles we can live by. It’s essential to ensure interviewers are doing it fairly and just. 

In summary, companies are in a situation where people analytics is vital to how they recruit and treat their employees because their actions will redefine their employer branding after this pandemic.

Learn from the crisis management open forum

For more best practices on how to use people analytics for crisis management, review these key takeaways from our last open forum. You can also register for the upcoming open forums here

Share your people data insights

Share insights, ask questions, and discover the latest best practices on crisis management and employee safety using people analytics via the #AskVisier LinkedIn community.

About the author: Visier Team

People-centered ideas and insights by the editorial team at Visier.

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